University of Pittsburgh
November 18, 2013

Pitt Festival Celebrates the Culture and Triumphs of Africa Nov. 20

Contact:  412-624-4147


PITTSBURGH—The continent of Africa’s cultural diversity, struggles, and triumphs will be the focus of Pitt’s Celebrate Africa festival from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 20 in the Ballroom of the William Pitt Union, 3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland. The festival is free and open to the public.

Festivities will include a live music and dance performance, engaging presentations from guest speakers, and screenings of a documentary and a popular African television program. Vendors will be on hand to sell authentic clothes, crafts, and foods from various regions of the continent. African Pitt students will represent their home countries.

The event will commence with a presentation at 11 a.m. on leadership training and life-skills development, delivered by Justin Forzano, executive director of the Cameroon Football Development Program. Using the sport of soccer as a teaching aide, the organization seeks to positively impact the lives of young people in Cameroon.

The festival also will feature presentations from representatives of Hekima Place, a Pittsburgh-based organization that assists with providing homes for orphaned Kenyan girls, and The Invisible Children, a nonprofit organization that seeks to bring awareness to the humanitarian violations of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a militia group in Central Africa. Pitt’s Facilitating Opportunities for Refugee Growth and Empowerment group will offer a panel discussion on conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, featuring a Congolese refugee now living in Pittsburgh. American students will speak about their experiences living and studying in various regions of the continent.

In addition, the festival will present two screenings. An episode of the popular Nigerian sitcom Clinic Matters will be shown at 3:30 p.m. At 5 p.m., the documentary Tony: Lose All, Gain Everything, which offers the personal accounts of three survivors of the civil war in Uganda during the early 2000s, will be screened.

Following the showing of Tony, Louis A. Picard, director of Pitt’s Ford Institute of Human Security and professor in the University’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, will offer expert commentary on the film’s content and lead a Q&A session. In addition, Ugandan citizens who lived through the conflict will address the audience and share their personal experiences, including the story of an individual who was kidnapped and held hostage by the Lord’s Resistance Army.

The festival is sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh’s African Studies Program, Ford Institute for Human Security, Global Studies Center, and University Center for International Studies. For more information, visit Celebrate Africa’s schedule of activities or contact or 412-624-8143.